Dr. Gloria Mendizabal-Piedra MD

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What Do Antibiotics Do To Your Gut Health?

What Do Antibiotics Do To Your Gut Health?

Antibiotics are an invaluable part of modern medicine. In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin. Over a century later, penicillin and many other antibiotics have saved the lives of millions of people. While there are many benefits of antibiotics, it’s important to know what antibiotics do to your gut health.

What Do Antibiotics Do?

Antibiotics fight infections by either stopping the reproduction of bacteria or destroying them. Usually, our body’s immune system is capable of killing off bacteria before it can multiply. White blood cells attack harmful bacteria, even if you’ve experienced symptoms, the body is equipped to fight off bacteria naturally. However, there are times when the immune system needs a push, this is when antibiotics are prescribed.

Antibiotics: Good or Bad For Us?

Antibiotics, when vital, are good for you. Antibiotics, when not necessary, are bad for you. There are many infections where antibiotics are crucial:


  • Ear & sinus infections
  • Dental infections
  • Skin infections
  • Meningitis
  • Strep throat
  • Cladd & kidney infections
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Whooping cough


When antibiotics are not needed, they can wreak havoc on your gut’s ecosystem, which is why there are many professionals who strongly advise against taking antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary.

Are Antibiotics Harmful?

Your body’s microbiome is the thriving ecosystem living in and on your body. Our bodies are made up of both good and bad bacteria. Ideally, 85% of your body will contain good bacteria, and 15% of the unwanted bacteria can make you feel sick or under the weather. Good bacteria supports and regulates the immune system, helps you absorb nutrients, digest food properly, balance blood sugar levels, and keep your emotions in check.


Antibiotics can’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Therefore, destroying all good and bad bacteria in your gut’s microbiome, leaving you with adverse digestive effects. These effects include:


  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating


The side effects on your gut are mostly dependent on how long and how often you are taking a course of antibiotics. Too many antibiotics can increase the damage, but there are effective steps you can take to prevent losing your gut’s beneficial flora.

Restoring Your Gut Flora

Probiotics are essential for every healthy flora, but those affected by antibiotics should be more proactive in taking them daily. If you are currently on an antibiotic cycle, probiotics, given that they are bacteria themselves, should be taken a few hours apart from the antibiotics. Probiotics should also be taken after a course of antibiotics to restore gut microbiota.


Fermented foods are another powerful way to replenish your gut flora. This includes yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and more. Fermented foods have a higher volume of healthy bacteria, therefore, improving your gut’s microbiome.


Fiber, an extremely important aspect of your digestive system, can’t be digested by your body. Fiber can be digested by gut bacteria, which will stimulate their growth. Add fiber to your diet during and after antibiotic treatment to restore healthy gut flora. Some high fiber foods are:


  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Peas
  • Lentils


There you have it, everything you need to know about how antibiotics affect your gut health. If antibiotics are necessary, they should not be neglected. Always take the advisement of your doctor seriously, and take the appropriate steps in keeping your gut healthy. For the best physician care, request an appointment with GMP Medical today. Let our family take care of yours.

April 25, 2018 2:40 pm
Categories: News